Book Review: The Mulberry Leaf Whispers

21 Dec

If you are looking for something a little different, The Mulberry Leaf Whispers by Linda Thompson is a very good choice. This dual timeline historical novel takes place in Japan in the years following WWII and during the 16th century giving the reader wonderful insights on the cultural differences between the Western world and Japan. It is definitely a highly recommended read for its unique subject matter and perspective.


1587. Bartered off in a peace agreement to the ancient enemies of her illustrious house, is Sono a war prize, a hostage, or a bride? One hope sustains her. If she can provide an heir to the dashing husband she just met, she’ll ensure decades of peace for the beloved family she was forced to leave behind. But when a dark secret threatens her desperate bid to purchase their security, she must rise to a battle she never dreamed she’d fight.

1942. Akira Matsuura’s naval vessel explodes under enemy fire. Everything he has lived for disappears in flames with it. His command, his crew, his future — all lost. Worse, his honor is eternally decimated. A prisoner’s life is of value to no one. Least of all to himself. But a stunning twist reveals his family’s secret shame. Can a long-buried truth provide the vital spark that reignites his will to live?

Thrill to two poignant journeys of courage, duty, and sacrifice, deftly woven through the centuries to inspire with dynamic faith that conquers despair.

Linda Thompson stepped back from a corporate career that spanned continents to write what she loves — stories of unstoppable faith. Her debut novel, The Plum Blooms in Winter, is an O.C.W. Cascade Award winner and a finalist for several 2019 awards: Christy and Carol Awards, plus the Independent Book Award in two categories. Linda writes from the sun-drenched Arizona desert, where she lives with her husband, a third-generation airline pilot who doubles as her Chief Military Research Officer, two mostly-grown-up kids, and a small platoon of housecats. When Linda isn’t writing, you’ll find her rollerblading — yes, that does make her a throwback — taking in a majestic desert moonrise, or dreaming of an upcoming trip. She and her husband recently returned from tours of Israel, Jordan, and Wales.


My Impressions:

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers, the second book in Linda Thompson’s Brands from The Burning series, whisks the reader back to a time and place not often visited in Christian fiction, at least not Ameican CF. Japan was very foreign indeed in the 16th century, and the values that embodied the time of the Samurais was still in place during WWII. Honor in dying, shame in capture are just two of the principles explored in this novel. I found the settings fascinating, but it really was the main characters that captured my imagination. For unique insight and fresh perspective, this novel is a highly recommended read.

The two stories revolve around Omura Sono and Matsuura Akira, two characters who could not be more different, yet I became very invested in both of their life journeys. Sono is the daughter of a lord who becomes an offering as she weds the son of another great house and seals a peace treaty. Unique for her time, Sono is a Christian, having been taught by the Portuguese Jesuits. She is promised the freedom of following her beliefs, but finds promises and reality very different. Akira is a young and devoted naval officer who finds himself a prisoner following the Doolittle raids on Japan. His shame dominates his time in a US camp, until he discovers the mystifying concepts of forgiveness and surrender. I really liked the inner struggles that the two share — the will to persevere in the face of hostile opposition and to surrender to the sovereignty of God. As I said, the settings proved to be fascinating. I feel the author really captured the times in which the characters lived. Historical details including food, dress, and rituals gave this reader a vivid reading experience. Sono was a historical of the time period, and Akira was inspired by a real person — her research into the two made the novel all the more believable. The faith messages are strong and are beautifully woven within the narrative. I especially found the expressions of the sanctity of life very moving.

The Mulberry Leaf Whispers is not a quick read — it is one that should be given time in order for it to seep into one’s thoughts. Make some time for this one — you won’t be sorry. It can be read as a standalone, but I recommend reading The Plum Blooms in Winter first. And because both are available you will have lots of quality reading time!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults. 

(I purchased the book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


6 Responses to “Book Review: The Mulberry Leaf Whispers”

  1. Carla December 21, 2020 at 8:13 pm #

    Excellent review. This sounds like an amazing book.

    • rbclibrary December 22, 2020 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks! I hope that you’ll read it.

  2. Gretchen December 21, 2020 at 8:59 pm #

    Sounds like an intriguing read! I love books full of historical details that allow you to effortlessly learn something about history.

    • rbclibrary December 22, 2020 at 7:09 am #

      I hope you get a chance to read it!

  3. lmthomps December 22, 2020 at 10:44 am #

    Hi, Beckie! I’m just SO thrilled that you enjoyed the novel, and so humbled at your kind words. Thanks very much for investing your time in my stories!!
    In His love, Linda

    • rbclibrary December 23, 2020 at 7:18 am #


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